Monday, April 16, 2007

Steve Biskupic is not that dumb

Steve Biskupic is a smart guy, which is one reason some of the speculation about why he prosecuted Georgia Thompson seems extermely unlikely.

This is a guy who got his dream job when the Supreme Court appointed George Bush president in 2000. Steve Biskupic, aggressive young assistant US attorney, beat out other applicants for the top job in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

It couldn't have taken him long to figure out that his bosses -- first John Ashcroft and then Alberto Gonzales -- were not particularly good to work for, and not particulary good for the rule of law.

Biskupic still is young. He has a long career in front of him and, until this fiasco, could have had his pick of posts. It makes no sense to me that he would launch a political prosecution to kowtow to the likes of Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales in order to hold on to a job that he will lose in 2008 anyway if a Democratic is elected president, as seems a pretty good bet. When Thompson was indicted in January 2006, Biskupic -- just like everyone else in the world -- could easily see how badly damaged Bush and the Republicans were.

Did Biskupic overreach with the Thompson prosecution? Absolutely. He stretched the law to make it fit his case, and it snapped back at him hard. And yes, it seemed just a bit much that Georgia Thompson was packed off to prison immediately when many, many white collar criminals are allowed to remain free while their appeals are pending. Was George Thompson a flight risk? No. Was she likely to commit further "crimes?" No way.

Biskupic did not serve justice in the Georgia Thompson case, but that does not mean he launched a political prosecution to save his job. In fact, that seems a bit unlikely -- why would he risk his entire future to work two more years for a political hack like Alberto Gonzales?

Biskupic may well have been tripped up by his ambition and zealousness. It's just hard to believe the opportunity to work for two more years for Alberto Gonzales would inspire Biskupic to sacrifice not only Georgia Thompson, but the very ideals he was sworn to uphold.


Anonymous said...

I don't totally disagree with your premise, but I'm not sure that you offer a plausible alternative. I mean, if he's "not dumb" enough to kowtow to Rove et al., how he be so dumb as to prosecute this ridiculous case?

I doubt very much that he received specific guidance to prosecute Thompson, but I think it's incredibly naive to think he was completely apolitical in investigating and pursuing the charges. (Just look at Troha. Biskupic is only looking into his ties to Doyle, not his ties to Paul Ryan, even though Ryan clearly accomplished more on Troha's behalf. Why? Ryan is a Republican.)

Anonymous said...

And is it fair to say the prosecution of Georgia Thompson snapped back hard on Biskupic? It actually snapped back hard on her. I believe Biskupic said he tried a "novel" approach-- since when do we allow prosecutors to test their pet legal theories on actual people. Mike Nifong at Duke had a novel approach to charging innocent people as well. Of course, he was stopped before he put the innocent people in prison.

Anonymous said...

I've posted elsewhere something similar, i.e., I agree that he's a very smart guy.

But then, as the poster above me says, what's the alternative?

All I can think of is this one: That he's unethical.

And that's not very smart to be, as he found out in the recent smackdown.

Is there another alternative? Hope so.

Anonymous said...

Biskupic did overreach with the Thompson prosecution, as you note. The fact is he did prosecute Thompson and the voter fraud cases, in accordance with Rove's priorities.

Is he "dumb enough" to have done so. Well, we all know he's no dummy; but he did it.

It's like the Bush adminstration's PR retorts with which Jon Stewart has so much fun: "It's not that we did it that's important, it's that we wouldn't have done it."

JayMagoo said...

This is not the first person to swear that Biskupic in a really smart guy, and then to cite the example of having prosecuted Georgia Thompson, an incredibly stupid act.

Biskupic prosecuted Georgia Thompson because (1) he was kowtowing to Rove and Gonzalez, which he had to do to keep his job, a dream job for him, or (2) because he was just following the evidence (as he saw it) which was an incredibly stupid decision given the paucity of evidence. Either way he does not deserve to be in a position as responsible as the US Attorney. No way!!

Anonymous said...

If Biskupic is stupid, what does that say about Judge Randa? If he is the least bit astute could he not see that there was no crime committed here?

Anonymous said...

This case is offensive on so many grounds.

Most white collar criminals aren't middle-aged unmarried ladies of modest means and appearance. Biskupic and Randa, dumped on her because she didn't look like she could fight back. Now Frank Easterbrook is in her corner; so there is some justice.

Biskupic owes us the complete truth. If he is as smart as you say, he will figure out a way to repay Georgia Thompson what his office stole from her.

If in any sense he prosecuted her to throw the governship to the Republicans, though, he's not salvageable as a US Attorney. That is internal corruption on the deepest levels. It will take him a lifetime to recover from such appalling abuse of office.

Anonymous said...

This man obviously has a political and career agenda. He is vermin of the most heinous type. He has ruined the life of Georgia Thompson and others who he has wrongly prosecuted in order to preserve his career. He has the morals of a mink in heat and would do anything to further his own self interests. One must understand the mental duress, financial hardship and social castigation an unjust federal prosecution brings to the accused. Mr. Biskupic understands this very well and still choses to continue these actions without regard to any consequence except his own self promotion. I'm sure he says smuggly if the people prosecuted are not found guilty that the system worked. He has a sacred responsiblity to execute his powers to the best of his ability. If this is as good as he can do, his ability an a lawyer and a federal prosecutor seems to speak to his lack of integrity, legal acumen and moral character to perform in his current job as U.S. Attorney. PETER PRINCIPLE PERSONIFIED!